This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1998).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
Clay County District Court
File No. T8986600
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55103; and
Heidi M.F. Davies, Moorhead City Prosecutor, P.O. Box 817, Moorhead, MN 56561-0817 (for respondent)
John M. Stuart, State Public Defender, Lawrence Hammerling, Deputy State Public Defender, 2829 University Avenue Southeast, Suite 600, Minneapolis, MN 55414; and
Peter E. Karlsson, Assistant Public Defender, 200 South Fifth Street, Suite 205, Moorhead, MN 56560 (for appellant)
Considered and decided by Willis, Presiding Judge, Kalitowski, Judge, and Halbrooks, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Appellant Lloyd Galloway challenges his conviction for DWI in violation of Minn. Stat. § 169.121, subd. 1(e) (1998), contending the district court erred in excluding expert testimony regarding the reliability of the procedures used in administering his urine test. We affirm.
The district court has broad discretion in deciding whether testimony by a qualified expert should be received. State v. Helterbridle, 301 N.W.2d 545, 547 (Minn. 1980). The appellate court will defer to the district court’s exercise of discretion in evidentiary matters regarding the admission of expert testimony and will not reverse a district court’s decision absent clear error. State v. Koskela, 536 N.W.2d 625, 629 (Minn. 1995); see also State v. Grecinger, 569 N.W.2d 189, 194 (Minn. 1997) (holding reversal requires “apparent error”).
Generally, expert testimony is admissible if: “(1) it assists the trier of fact; (2) it has a reasonable basis; (3) it is relevant; and (4) its probative value outweighs its potential for unfair prejudice.” State v. Jensen, 482 N.W.2d 238, 239 (Minn. App. 1992), review denied (Minn. May 15, 1992). Minn. R. Evid. 702 specifies:
If scientific, technical, or other specialized knowledge will assist the trier of fact to understand the evidence or to determine a fact in issue, a witness qualified as an expert by knowledge, skill, experience, training, or education, may testify thereto in the form of an opinion or otherwise.
The basic requirement of rule 702 is helpfulness. Helterbridle, 301 N.W.2d at 547. The helpfulness test has been laid out as follows:
If the subject of the testimony is within the knowledge and experience of a lay jury and the testimony of the expert will not add precision or depth to the jury’s ability to reach conclusions about that subject which is within their experience, then the testimony does not meet the helpfulness test. In determining admissibility, of course, the trial court may also rely upon those considerations expressed in Minn. R. Evid. 403. Thus, the court may exclude testimony if the court concludes that it will confuse the jury.
Id. The district court must scrutinize the proffered expert testimony “as it would other evidence and exclude it where irrelevant, confusing, or otherwise unhelpful.” State v. Miles, 585 N.W.2d 368, 371 (Minn. 1998).
Appellant contends the district court abused its discretion in excluding appellant’s expert’s testimony challenging the reliability of appellant’s urine test on the ground that appellant did not void his bladder before the test. We disagree. Neither the statute regarding the determination of alcohol concentration nor the BCA regulations regarding the collection of urine samples require a pre-test voiding of the bladder. Minn. Stat. § 169.01, subd. 61 (1998) (defining alcohol concentration as “(a) the number of grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood, or (b) the number of grams of alcohol per 210 liters of breath, or (c) the number of grams of alcohol per 67 milliliters of urine”); Minn. R. 7502.0700 (1997) (“urine samples must be tested for alcohol using only procedures approved and certified to be valid and reliable testing procedures by the director [of the BCA]”). And this court has concluded that it must defer to the legislature and commissioner as to the appropriate procedures to use in testing alcohol levels in DWI cases. Brooks v. Commissioner of Pub. Safety, 584 N.W.2d 15, 17-18 (Minn. App. 1998) (stating that “[i]n interpreting a statute, the appellate court must ‘ascertain and effectuate’ the legislature’s intent”), review denied (Minn. Nov. 24, 1998).
There is no dispute that the BCA procedures were followed in collecting appellant’s urine sample. This court has held that a urine test used to measure alcohol concentration under the implied consent statute using the BCA testing kit is reliable when the officer administering the test follows the applicable procedures as approved by the BCA. Genung v. Commissioner of Pub. Safety, 589 N.W.2d 311, 313 (Minn. App. 1999), review denied (Minn. May 18, 1998).
Moreover, the Genung court specifically addressed the issue raised by appellant’s expert:
The officer who collected the sample abided by the applicable BCA procedures. Those procedures, which do not require the voiding once before producing the test sample, have been found to ensure reliability.
Id. Appellant seeks to distinguish Genung because it did not involve the admission of expert testimony. But Genung addressed the same reliability question presented in this case—whether a urine test is accurate when performed in accordance with BCA procedures despite the fact that the procedures do not require a pre-test voiding of the bladder.
Additionally, in City of Springfield v. Anderson, 411 N.W.2d 292 (Minn. App. 1987), this court affirmed the district court’s decision excluding as irrelevant expert testimony regarding whether a proper urine sample should come from a voided or unvoided bladder. Id. at 293. We reject appellant’s argument that Springfield is not controlling because Springfield allowed the exclusion of testimony regarding the proper procedure for collecting a urine sample only where the validity of the sample was not being questioned. Id. Both here and in Springfield the experts sought to question the reliability of the testing procedure in order to challenge the reliability of the test results.
There is no requirement, under the statute or the appropriate BCA regulations, that the bladder must be voided prior to the collecting of a urine sample. We conclude the district court did not abuse its discretion in excluding testimony that challenges the reliability of a urine test conducted in conformance with the applicable statute and regulations, and using the BCA testing kit.